Published On: Sat, Dec 5th, 2020

“The role of the Ombudsman is misunderstood”

PHILIPSBURG – Statements by Minister of Justice Anna Richardson about the Ombudsman’s investigation into the country’s parking and towing policy show that “the role of the Ombudsman is misunderstood,” Ombudsman Gwendolien Mossel said during a meeting of the Central Committee of Parliament on Friday.

During Wednesday’s Council of Ministers press briefing Richardson dismissed the Ombudsman-report as “a blanket statement” and complained that “it is remiss that we did not have an opportunity to work together.” Richardson also criticized a video the Ombudsman posted on Facebook: “It addresses the findings in the report without giving the minister a fair chance to react.”

But the Ombudsman made clear that the investigation into the towing policy began before the current minister of justice took office and that her predecessor Egbert Doran failed to cooperate. “The current minister was informed about it and she was requested to provide information we requested because this had not been forthcoming.”

The Ombudsman dismissed the minister’s blanket-statement-remark: “This is a comprehensive report that includes real-life experiences. We have identified bottlenecks and issued recommendations. Our investigation covers years of infractions.”

Mossel pointed out that her office is “a critical friend” for the government.  “This report contains the tools for the minister of justice to comprehensively address the matters at hand. I am looking forward to a comprehensive response to the recommendations in the report.”